Allingham, Cedric
Elusive author of the book Flying Saucers from Mars (1954),
published a year after the remarkable claims of George Adamski
in his influential book, written with Desmond Leslie, Flying
Saucers Have Landed (1953).
Cedric Allingham’s book claimed that while the author was
on a caravan holiday near Lossiemouth, Scotland, in February
1954, he saw a flying saucer and met its Martian pilot. The
book included a soft focus photograph of a back view of the
alien moving away. Coming so soon after Adamski’s book, both
books initiated scores of similar ‘‘contactee’’ claims. While flying
saucer fans welcomed Allingham’s book, skeptics denounced
it as a hoax.
The case against the genuineness of the book was strengthened
by the fact that attempts to contact the author by other in
vestigators proved fruitless. At the time the book was published
in October 1954, Allingham was said to be touring the United
States planning to meet Adamski. His publisher then claimed
that Allingham was suffering from tuberculosis in a Swiss sanitarium.
A few months later, Allingham was said to have died.
Apart from Allingham’s publishers, the only other named
human contactee was said to have been a fisherman named
James Duncan, however Duncan proved just as elusive as Allingham.
In 1969 Robert Chapman, a perceptive critic, claimed
in his own book Unidentified Flying Objects that Allingham never
existed and that the story was ‘‘probably the biggest UFO legpull
ever perpetrated in Britain.’’ Chapman discovered that Allingham
was supposed to have lectured to a flying saucer group
in Kent, England, and a photograph purporting to be of Allingham
standing by ‘‘his 10-inch reflecting telescope’’ appeared
as frontispiece to Flying Saucers from Mars.
The hoax was finally resolved in 1986 by journalists Christopher
Allan and Steuart Campbell in an article in the journal
Magonia. Allan and Campbell claimed that Allingham’s book
was a hoax perpetrated by a British astronomer Patrick Moore,
who presents the popular television series ‘‘The Sky at Night.’’
Moore had claimed to know Allingham and to have met him
at a lecture on UFOs given at a club in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
Allan and Campbell conducted a careful comparison between
the Allingham book and the writings of Moore. They found significant
similarities of words, phrases, and references, but also
some puzzling differences. They concluded that more than one
individual was involved in the writing of the book.
Although the publishers refused to disclose the identity or
whereabouts of ‘‘Allingham,’’ they agreed to forward a letter
from Allan and Campbell, asking for details of identity. The
letter was returned with the remark on the envelope ‘‘not
known here for at least twelve years.’’ However, the envelope
itself identified the name and address to which the letter had
been sent! Allan and Campbell were thus able to contact the individual,
Peter Davies, who had been living only nine miles
from the home of Patrick Moore in East Grinstead, Sussex.
When contacted at a later address, Davies admitted that he had
been involved with the book Flying Saucers from Mars, that it was
written by someone else whom he would not name, but that his
task had been to revise the book to conceal the style, and that
the frontispiece photograph of ‘‘Allingham’’ was actually of
himself in disguise. He also admitted that he had given the lecture
to the flying saucer group in Kent, in company with a
knowledgeable ‘‘assistant’’ (i.e., Moore) whom he would not
name. It also transpired that Davies was an old friend of Patrick
Moore.
Allan and Campbell compared the photograph of ‘‘Allingham’’
standing by the side of the 10-inch reflecting telescope
with a photograph of the 1½-inch reflector telescope belonging
to Patrick Moore, taken in his garden in East
Grinstead, Sussex. The telescope and the background of trees,
shrub, and a garden seat matched.
The question of Allingham’s identity was finally resolved;
however, Moore never acknowledged his role in the hoax. Immediately
after the 1986 article exposing his initiation of the
affair, he tried to refute the idea and threatened to sue any who
perpetuated it. He soon lapsed into silence and ufologists discovered
that his authorship of the Allingham book was somewhat
of an open secret among British scientists. Moore in fact
had a long history of poking fun at contactee claims and had
written many letters to Cosmic Voice, the periodical of the Aetherius
Society, which included mention of scientists with
names such as L. Puller or Dr. Huizenass.
Sources:
Allen, Christopher, and Steuart Campbell. ‘‘Flying Saucer
from Moore’s?’’ Magonia vol. 23 (July 1986): 15–18.
Allingham, Cedric [Patrick Moore]. Flying Saucer from Mars.
London: Frederick Muller, 1954.
Chapman, Robert. Unidentified Flying Objects. London: Arthur
Barker, 1969.

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